University of Alberta Press

Book details

Publication date: September 2001
Features: Shortlisted for the Governor General's Award
Series: cuRRents
Keywords: Literature / Poetry
Subject(s): POETRY / Canadian, Literature / Poetry, Literature, Poetry,
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Robert Kroetsch. Born in Heisler, Alberta, Robert Kroetsch published his first novel, But We are Exiles in 1965, and his book The Studhorse Man (1969) won the Governor General's Award for Fiction. Throughout his career, he steadily elaborated his indelible mark on Canadian writing with his fiction, non-fiction, poetry, teaching, and scholarship.

"Robert K offers readers a zanily brilliant and hauntingly austere series." Judith Fitzgerald, The Globe & Mail


"Kroetsch shows how brilliantly a wily intelligence can slip the bonds of expectation to create surprising and challenging new work." Harry Vandervlist, Quill & Quire


"Intellectually taut and supremely tricky." Shawna Lemay, The Edmonton Journal


"This book of poetry is a trip--you do not want to miss it." Sheri-D Wilson, ARC: Canada's National Poetry Magazine, Summer 2002


"In The Hornbooks of Rita K, acclaimed poet and prose writer Robert Kroetsch explored his own alter ego, as well as the idea that regardless of where or how far we wander from our roots, a little corner of home stays with us.... It is a rare treat to encounter an author whose work exudes the confidence to use language so playfully and still tell a story. Typically, Kroetsch laughs off any notion that he is widely regarded as an icon of Canadian literature. 'That's someone else,' he says. But no one else could have written The Hornbooks of Rita K." Vern Clemence, The StarPhoenix


"Kroetsch's narratives are never traditional. In The Hornbooks of Rita K his story develops by accretion, or the slow process of sedimentation, as Raymond shuffles Rita's poems and his commentary into piles. This shuffling allows Kroetsch's playfulness to shine and offers its own occasion for wry commentary.... The Hornbooks of Rita K marks a welcome return of one of Canada's foremost poets." Richard Henry, SUNY Potsdam, World Literature Today


"Of all the writers working in Canada today, Robert Kroetsch is perhaps the one who exerts more quiet influence than any other--and on a national scale. A superb mentor, a wonderful editor, and tirelessly generous to the literary community, Robert Kroetsch is a truly outstanding model and mentor as an artist, an intellectual, and an educator. Hundreds of students and writers can attest to his influence." Aritha VanHerk, University of Calgary


"Renowned for exploring the external landscape (i.e., the prairie), Kroetsch focuses more on the internal landscape. Rita K reads more like a story with a beginning, middle and end....[I]t's Kroetsch at his finest and absolutely worth a read." Treena Kortje, Winnipeg Free Press


"Rita's poem and Raymond's notes and emendations, a hall of mirrors in which Kroetsch himself does and doesn't appear, are a poetic anti-treatise, a comic primer and poignant meditation on versions of authorship and meaning, on what gets in and out through the back door of intentions, on what gets left behind on longing and lines around reflected eyes. True to Kroetsch's inimitable form, The Hornbooks of Rita K resists quotation and summary....[T]he book also contributes to fascinated reading and out loud laughs..." FastForward


"Novelist, poet, essayist and teacher Robert Kroetsch is internationally known and justly celebrated as one of the fathers of contemporary Canadian literature....His latest volume, The Hornbooks of Rita K, continues to challenge the forms that limit expression." Coast Reporter


"As novelist, poet, essayist and teacher, [Kroetsch] has introduced more of the seminal ideas that have shaped the postmodern growth of western Canadian fiction and poetry than any other writer--perhaps all other writers." Coast Reporter


"Robert Kroetsch should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in the art and craft of poetry. Kroetsch should also be required reading for anyone who thinks poetry is no longer relevant, usurped perhaps by something hipper like rock and roll. Robert Kroetsch is a hip and sexy writer. Don't let the term sexy throw you off: I am referring to his use of language, his delight in things delightful and in the book's characters-the bereft, lovelorn Raymond and the acerbic Rita. Nor should you let the term "hip" throw you off. Kroetsch's writing is hip because it's very smart and still immensely readable. It's so good you can hardly tell." Nancy Jo Cullen, Alberta Views March /April 2002


"The hornbooks are fragmentary texts, including both Rita's other, often unfinished poems and Raymond's rueful reflections on Rita's life. Numbered and presented out of chronological order, they build up to a picture of a life and also a story of a relationship....Over the course of the book, this project becomes an unsettling operation that creates oddly prismatic and shimmering effects without ever leading to a sense of securely knowing what really matters." Margaret Mackey, Contemporary Canadian Adult Books with Teen Appeal


"The Hornbooks of Rita K is packed with ideas about the exchange processes, the sharings, that constitute writing. With a framework that allows such a variety of procedures, it is rich in ideas, modes and range. It is not at all surprising that it was nominated for the Governor General's Award." Australian Canadian Studies, Vol. 2, No.1


"The Hornbooks of Rita K is Robert Kroetsch's radical continuation of an oeuvre that comprises nine novels, several volumes of poetry (see Complete Field Notes) and numerous critical essays....For newcomers to (post)postmodern Canadian writing, the complex Hornbooks - with a modern art flap-cover and shadowy back doors preceding each section - is no easy reading, but for those risking entrance, it may well function as an instructive avant-garde poetics." British Journal of Canadian Studies


"Kroetsch.has created a small gem of book.. By turns reportage, recapture, rumination, imagination; by turns deeply searching, lightly whimsical, or refreshingly palpable, the two lives--shared and hidden--play out, with the matter of poetry itself seldom absent." Peter Skinner, Foreword Magazine


Governor General Award for Poetry - Nomination

2001
Alberta Book Awards - Nomination, Trade Book of the Year

2002
ISBNs: 9780888643728 978-0-88864-372-8 Title: the hornbooks of rita k